The European Parliament’s Committees on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted in September on their respective draft reports on the environmental impact of shale gas and shale oil extraction. A large majority of the members of the ENVI Committee supported the resolution, while the members of the ITRE Committee were more divided in their votes with 32 for and 23 against. Following the ITRE vote, members of the conservative EPP group were responsible for the adoption of a “pro-industry” resolution, which critics believe does not sufficiently take environmental aspects into account. Concerns were also raised regarding the lack of safety guarantees. Both resolutions must now be adopted at the European Parliament’s October plenary session.
While the European Parliament has debated the environmental impact of shale gas extraction, the European Commission has released three studies on the various impacts of shale gas exploration in Europe including energy security benefits, climate change and environmental implications. The studies state that shale gas production can help reduce dependency on electricity imports and cut emissions by up to 49 percent when compared to coal. However, the studies also note that shale gas emits more CO2 emissions and is more hazardous to environment and human health than conventional natural gas.
The Czech Republic has recently followed Bulgaria and France in imposing a moratorium on shale gas exploration, which will be valid from mid-October 2012 until at least June 2013.
Source: APCO European Union Energy Policy Update, October 2012. Additional stories can be found at the link.